Saturday, January 1, 2011
magicians and wise men
Portion this week: Exodus 6:2 thru 9:35
One verse really caught my attention this week. It's the one about Pharoah's magicians giving credit to 'the finger of God', chapter 8.
Pharoah's guys performed some impressive tricks.
They can't duplicate the trick Aaron & Moses have done, turning dust to fleas. So they explain to Pharoah, "this was done by the finger of God."
A disgusting plague, one recounted at Passover dinners.
Speaking of, I have a couple of confessions to make:
1. In Athens, when we visited sites of Greek gods, particularly the Acropolis and the round 'tower of the winds',....a small seed of doubt sprouted in my mind. Questions about faith dogged me through Italy, Tunisia and into Israel, through Tel Aviv and up to Mount Carmel. Usually confident, it DID confuse me to see tangible proof of humans worshipping other gods. I think I've been embarrassed to admit the doubts...especially in the 'land of the God of Israel' - and through the Christmas season when it seems everyone believes.
One morning this week I was in conversation with an English volunteer. I confessed to him my nagging unbelief, dogging along since our travels to sites in ancient Greece and Rome. 'Mike' listened, and although his faith seems strong, he didn't judge my confession.
Have I been judgemental of others who don't believe? That's rhetorical. Yes I have been!
Thankfully, the portion this week clarified some questions.
In the Bible, I found documentation of magic and power of 'other' gods. Magicians recognized a mightier power when they remarked, "This is the finger of God!" Right here on Mount Carmel, thousands of years ago, a big power showdown occurred when Elijah challenged Baal. (1Kings 18)
As for my unbelief this week, it was challenged by a couple of things: One, I admitted my shortcoming and doubt. I'm not a super Christian, as some here in the 'land' seem to be....but I know deep down there is one true God. It was powerful to speak my doubt out loud. Second, I read how magicians validated the One God.
We spent New Year's eve with a family from the states. He's a Jewish man from Long Island who, along with his wife, heard a strong call from God to move with his family to Israel. What I appreciated most, during the evening, was his story of searching for the One God. While it is not my story, I can tell you this much: he questioned, looked for answers, read the book of John, and challenged God. He made his decision and has been a strong follower since.
2.) Here's my other confession:
Passover Seders are not my thing. Don't judge me on that comment just yet....as I've participated in many. After the first one, when so much was revealed as 'new wine' - In repeated experienced I began to question the tradition of it all. If the purpose of Passover is to remember, why not FULLY recount this week's Torah Portion? It is a powerful story of the One God.
Speaking of Passover, in the Land of Israel, it's observed as a beginning, a New Year.
Jews also celebrate Rosh Hashana as the New Year.
Saturday we celebrated the beginning of the calendar year 2011, especially enjoyed by Russian Jews who came to Israel during the past 20 years. They love the New Year celebration because it was one of the few holidays allowed under communism.
I am excited for 2011!
I would like to challenge my readers to seek the one true God.
Look with all of your heart, soul, and might.
"For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord. They are plans for good and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope." (Jer. 29:11)
Shalom! Thank you for reading Saturday Chores!